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Guide to 3D Printing Materials

3D printing materials

3D printing is growing in popularity and more manufacturers, engineers, hobbyists, and schools are adopting it. 3D printers are now faster, cheaper, and more reliable than ever before. One of the biggest challenges with additive manufacturing is selecting the right material for your needs. There are so many options that it can be a challenge to find exactly what you need.

Using the correct material is important; too weak and the printed object breaks; too strong and you get cracks or imperfections in the final product. The properties of 3D printing materials differ widely across various applications such as medical prototyping, education, aerospace & aviation, and general manufacturing. Selecting the best material for your application could be a bit challenging but with this article it will become much easier!

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology used to create three-dimensional objects from a digital design. It is used in a variety of industries to create parts and products. 3D printing is unique because it is an on-demand process that allows manufacturers to make products one at a time as needed. It is an ideal solution for making small-batch, specialized products that would otherwise be made in small quantities by hand or not at all because they would not be economical to produce using traditional methods such as injection molding or machining.

3D filaments are used in 3D printers to create the actual object, like a shoe or a vase. You will find many types of 3D filaments in the market. They can be divided into two types – thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers.

Thermoplastics are the most common type of filaments used in 3D printing. You can use them to create almost any shape and design you want. When the thermoplastic filament is heated, it will become soft and then the molten plastic will be injected into an optimized pattern to form your desired shape. Once the plastic cools down, you can remove the final product out of the printer.

Thermosetting polymers are used to create products that are robust and rigid. These are not suitable for creating as complex objects like thermoplastics because of the low flow rate.

3D printing materials

Why are material properties important?

3D printing is an additive process, which means that the object is built layer by layer. While each layer is being built, the material is heated up and then cooled down again. This process is important to consider when picking material for your project. A material that is easy to melt but hard to cool down might cause deformation.

Materials with a large coefficient of expansion are not suitable for parts that need to accommodate varying temperatures as they will expand and contract with temperature. But the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a material is the mechanical properties. The most important mechanical properties of a 3D printed object are strength, stiffness, and toughness.

The strength of an object is how much force is required to break it. The stiffness is how much force is required to deform it, while the toughness is how much force it takes to break it and how many times it can be deformed before it fails. The mechanical properties of a material are often a trade-off between each other. A stronger material will have less elasticity, while a less stiff material will be more affordable. This means that sometimes you have to compromise between mechanical properties.


As you can see, there are many types of materials that can be used to 3D print, each with its own characteristics. Once you have a better understanding of these materials, it will be much easier to make the right decision for your project. Now that you have read this article, you have a better understanding of the different types of materials that can be used to 3D print. Be sure to keep these things in mind when selecting material for your project.